Twenty youths from Lakshadweep are being trained in coconut-tree climbing at Athani, near here, under a project of the Coconut Development Board (CDB) executed by the Green Army.
The Green Army is a skilled labour bank formed by the Wadakkanchery Block Panchayat under the GALASA scheme (Group Approach for Locally Adapted and Sustainable Agriculture) to solve labour shortage in the farm sector.
Under the project, 25 batches comprising 500 youths are being trained in coconut-tree climbing.
They are being trained in coconut climbing techniques; harvesting operations; pest-control measures; pollination, hybridisation and plant-protection methods; and identification of tender, mature and seed nuts.
Each candidate is being given a stipend of Rs.150 a day. At the end of the training programme, each candidate will be given a coconut-tree climbing machine costing Rs. 4,000.
“Four more batches from Lakshadweep will be trained,” said Anup Kishore, coordinator of the Green Army.
Coconut cultivation is the lifeline of Lakshadweep, a group of islands 200 to 440 km off Kerala. Lakshadweep is India's largest producer of coconuts with about 2,598 hectares under coconut cultivation. The productivity per hectare is 22,310. Coconut-fibre extraction and production of fibre products are Lakshadweep's main industries. There are five coir-fibre factories, five production demonstration centres and seven fibre-curling units run by the government. The units produce coir fibre, coir yarn, curled fibre and corridor mattings. “Like Kerala, Lakshadweep too faces labour shortage in the farm sector,” Mr. Kishore said.
According to T.K. Jose, chairman of CDB, Kerala has over 15-crore coconut trees and at least 30,000 workers are required for coconut-tree climbing. “The CDB is trying to attract youth to the job,” he said.
Dt Issued: SEPTEMBER 29, 2011